Please welcome the newest member of the CASA Program, Lexi Goehl. Her official title is CASA Outreach Coordinator. Lexi graduated from John Wood Community College with an Associates Degree in Arts and Sociology. She currently attends Quincy University and is working on her Bachelors Degree. Lexi has a passion for helping children and is excited to start her work with our agency!
Numbers don’t tell the full story of the struggling children and families we encounter at any of our nine CAC locations or in the four counties where CASA services are provided. You can’t see the faces of children as they talk about their trauma in a number. You can’t feel the hugs or see the smiles of reunited parents and their children in a statistical report. The need for CAC and CASA services have reached an all-time high and are predicted to continue growing. Here are some statistics of those we serve at the Advocacy Network for Children.
In the 2019 fiscal year, Advocacy Network for Children conducted 457 forensic interviews across Adams, Brown, Cass, Hancock, McDonough, Morgan, Pike, Schuyler and Scott Counties. Two years ago, that number was 327. That’s a nearly 40% increase in forensic interview services alone. This number doesn’t reflect the advocacy outreach services, case coordination, case management, court attendance and victim witness services. Our Advocates make and receive calls and provide victim resources every day, attend to the court docket on an almost daily basis, attend meetings to discuss open cases and frequently assist in preparing victims for court. Advocates and interviewers also spend time traveling to these counties to provide interviews, meet with local law enforcement, DCFS investigators and representatives from area States’ Attorneys’ offices.
This past fiscal year, CASA represented 202 children in court and worked towards reunification with their families in Adams, Hancock, Morgan and Pike County. Last year, the program was expanded to include the other three counties besides Adams County. Adams County alone had a 15% increase. These numbers will also grow as the needs for these services increase in our current counties and we work towards adding CASA services in additional counties. This would not be possible without the 98 committed volunteers who gave a minimum of 10 hours per child each month to make sure they have a voice and their emotional, physical, mental, educational and social needs are being met. They continually work to help children and families improve their lives and relationships and to ensure the children are not lost in an overburdened child welfare system.
Combined, our Happy Bear and P.S. It’s My Body Prevention Programs, educated 4,334 children and 273 teachers in our nine-county region last year. This program includes a Happy Bear personal safety play, a teacher and parent component that provides safety tips, strategies for talking to children about personal safety, and what to do if a child discloses abuse. The evidence based prevention program is a key component in helping to end childhood physical and sexual abuse.
These numbers do show something essential though. It shows there are even more children and families in need of our services and Advocacy Network for Children is committed to providing those services. Our goal is, and will continue to be — to protect and uphold the rights of children when wrongs have been committed against them, to help abused or neglected children have safe permanent homes where they can thrive, to act as a powerful voice in these children’s best interests and to educate the public about the plight of abused children.
LUNCH AND LEARN PRESENTED BY:
The 8th Judicial Circuit Family Violence Coordinating Council 2019
Friday, June 21, 2019
Quincy Senior & Family Resource Center
639 York St. Quincy, IL 62301
Click here for fee information and the registration form.
In Her Own Words…. A Survivor’s Story
Janet Paulsen was the portrait of suburbia perfection in November 2015. She was the executive vice president of the Acworth Baseball Association, supporting her athletic and active twin, 13-year-old boys. She and her husband of 15 years owned a mortgage servicing business. She was in the best shape of her life, having just trained for and completed a grueling Savage Race. The Volunteer of the Year Award, given by the Georgia Parks and Recreation Association, had just been minted with her name as its recipient. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Ms. Paulsen also had an 18 year career in the shopping center industry. She managed and marketed regional malls and outlet centers on behalf of the developers. Unfortunately, Janet was also living a different life behind closed doors. She was living with an abusive, alcoholic husband — a living nightmare sleeping beside her every night. On November 5, 2015 her then husband attempted to kill her by shooting her 6 times leaving her right leg paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. She survived after multiple surgeries and physical therapy and chooses to live her life to the fullest by taking care of her boys, sports such as scuba diving and water skiing and by being a Voice for others living in similar situations. In sharing her story she empowers other survivors and victims’ by providing valuable insight into her experience of navigating through an imperfect system. This information helps to shed light on existing gaps and will allow participating in professionals who serve victims with ideas of how to make improvements that could help save lives.